A drunken Massachusetts police officer choked and put a gun to the head of a woman in his house. Earlier on the same day the officer was cited for drinking alcohol while driving.
Now, four months later, Dalton police officer James Scace has been charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, domestic assault and battery, strangulation and witness intimidation.
Stemming from a criminal investigation of a July incident, a criminal complaint against Scace was filed on Nov. 18th. Scace reportedly received a civil motor vehicle infraction for consuming alcohol while driving in July.
A few hours later on the same day, Scace in a drunken rage began choking a unidentified woman that was a guest in his house. Scace also began destroying property, including the woman’s cell phone.
The woman attempted to run, but Scace caught up with her throwing her to the ground and kicking her in the ribs; he also began to strangle her more.
In fact, court documents state that he has had, “a pattern of assaultive behavior” because there was another incident in which he prevented a woman from using her phone to call for help, although there are no details from the first incident.
According to the Berkshire Eagle:
Scace was involved in a civil motor vehicle infraction in July “after he had been drinking alcohol and was en route to purchase more,” according to a probable cause statement prepared by Massachusetts State Police Detective Brian Foley.
Details of that incident weren’t included in the court filing, but it was noted that the Dalton Police Department was notified, which caused Scace “considerable angst.”
Later that evening, Scace became “enraged,” and began destroying property inside the home and smashed the woman’s cellphone to prevent her from calling for help, the report said. The woman left the house, but Scace allegedly followed her outside, threw her to the ground, kicked her in the ribs and wrapped his hands around her neck and throttled her hard enough to cause “significant” bruising.
The woman went back inside the house and saw Scace enter the basement and re-emerge holding a black handgun, believed to be his service weapon.
When he was asked what he was going to do with the weapon, Scace allegedly placed the firearm to the side of the woman’s head, touching it with the end of the muzzle.
The woman told officers she was in fear for her life, the report said. Scace apologized the following morning and said he did not remember what he’d done.
The probable cause statement says this is the second incident in which Scace forcibly prevented a victim from accessing their cellphone to call for help. There is no information in the court file about the alleged earlier incident.
Following the incident Scace apologized and maintained that he did not remember what he had done.
The Dalton police department has not released any disciplinary actions taken against Scace.
He was released from jail on a personal recognizance. He was ordered not to posses any firearms. His court date is set for December 3rd at the Central Berkshire District Court.